Many CIOs moving beyond IT: Survey

Many CIOs moving beyond IT: Survey

Summary: Gartner's survey of 2,000 CIOs has found less emphasis on systems, more on digital business initiatives.


Gartner recently conducted a survey of 2,053 CIOs, asking what's going to be important over the coming year. If you look at the lists below--for technology and business priorities--there probably aren't too many surprises. Analytics/BI tops the list, followed by mobile, then cloud, and so on.

World Trade Center NYC Aug 2012 2 Photo by Joe McKendrick
(Credit: Joe McKendrick)

The piece of bad news is the economics. Gartner said that the average CIO IT budgets are down 0.5 percent from a year ago. However, everyone should be used to it--CIO IT budgets "have been flat to negative ever since the dot-com bust of 2002."

The three main anchors of service-oriented technologies--cloud, legacy modernization, and virtualization--make the list, at numbers 3, 5, and 8 respectively. Not the top of the list, but at least on the list. Of course, it can be argued that the business side isn't really tuned into service technologies--but business types are very excited about analytics and mobile. In fact, CIOs brand these technologies as "disruptive"--mobile (70 percent), analytics (55 percent), social media (54 percent), and public cloud (51 percent).

What's really new and different is evidence that CIOs are increasingly evolving into "chief digital officers" (CDOs). This is more than semantics; it suggests a shift away from overseeing systems and applications to overseeing their organization's efforts to build new channels and markets. (Well, actually, "CIO" might still be a better label, since the impetus is still harvesting value from information, not just being "digital.")

Nevertheless, almost a fifth of CIOs now act as their enterprise's CDO, leading digital commerce and channels. More CIOs "will find themselves leading in areas outside of traditional IT," Gartner predicted, especially since they are starting to oversee digital business initiatives. In fact, Gartner said that 77 percent of CIOs surveyed "have significant leadership responsibilities outside of IT." Compare this to 2008, when almost half of CIOs had no responsibilities outside of IT.

Ultimately, a CDO posture may attract far more corporate budget dollars than the traditional IT-centric CIO role, Gartner suggested. "Reacting to limited budgets by restructuring costs, outsourcing and doing more with less made sense from 2002 to 2011, when the supply of innovative technologies was scarce. Adapting to, and leading, in the digital world requires doing things differently, yet in ways consistent with the demands of digital technologies."Open the floodgates.

Top 10 CIO technology priorities:

  1. Analytics and business intelligence

  2. Mobile technologies

  3. Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)

  4. Collaboration technologies (workflow)

  5. Legacy modernization

  6. IT management

  7. CRM

  8. Virtualization

  9. Security

  10. ERP Applications


Top CIO 10 business priorities:

  1. Increasing enterprise growth

  2. Delivering operational results

  3. Reducing enterprise costs

  4. Attracting and retaining new customers

  5. Improving IT applications and infrastructure

  6. Creating new products and services (innovation)

  7. Improving efficiency

  8. Attracting and retaining the workforce

  9. Implementing analytics and big data

  10. Expanding into new markets and geographies

Topics: Cloud, CXO, IT Priorities, Mobility, NextGen CIO, Business Intelligence

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  • seems like a list

    of popular buzzwords and business phrases used by resume writers. Aren't increasing growth, reducing costs, attracting and retaining new customers, and improving efficiency the stated goal of every business unit of every company in existence. If Henry Ford were given to making lists, I would not be surprised to see him list the same top ten business priorities (with #5 and #9 rewritten to reflect the tech of his day)
    • re: seems like a list

      Henry Ford wasn't a CIO. That's the news here - CIOs are moving BEYOND their typical role as CIO. I'm assuming that's why they titled the article that.
      Mullet Reeve
  • Sorry, but couldn't be more wrong - CIO's becoming 'Digital' experts lol

    I see this time and time again from people within the ICT / IT / Government industries. Digital is absolutely nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with technology.

    Digital is about understanding people; their attitudes, needs, goals, time, locations, behaviour and context. Digital is about understanding the disruption digital channels and technology is having on people, process and organisations.

    Digital is not about understanding technology, implementing technology, throwing technology at needs, problems and opportunities.

    Technology doesn't innovate people do and understanding technology without intimately understanding people is why most organisations including ICT, IT, CIO's, Government and many organisations are so far behind, just don't get 'digital' or waste millions on new technology.

    A 'Chief Digital Officer' (CDO) is better sourced from a Marketing background not IT but importantly someone who has moved through and has extensive experience in Digital Marketing, not ICT or CIO's for all the issues outlined below.

    The sooner you work that out then the more success you will have.

    A CIO evolving into a CDO, lol!
    • There is more to digital

      The digital area is not just about social media, it also includes big data, cloud computing and mobility. If it were only about social media, you are right about it being a marketing only area.

      I do agree with you however, but I don't see the use of a CDO in a company. The technological aspect of "digital" belongs in the architect area. That is how cloud will be implemented in the company, what big data systems will be used and how the data will be managed. What is the process to get to a mobile workforce and how does current systems have to adapt to get there. Then also, what will be the internal and external role of social media and how will our current infrastructure cater for it. Those are the tasks of a digital architect, not a CDO.

      In marketing again, "digital" would mean what social networks will be used to engage with which clients. The answer to the which clients is what you get from a proper big data implementation. Whether you use cloud based systems or traditional systems, that should be immeterial. Mobility should be a given soon, so that also is not a concern of the marketing area. So you don't even need a marketing person as CDO, you just need someone in marketing reporting into the CMO that is responsible for this. From a marketing perspective it should also not be seen as a seperate thing, but rather supporting current marketing channels.

      As I said, I can see why CIOs and even CMOs want to become CDOs, but it is just wrong. It is spending a lot of money on something that would better be part of the current systems.
      • Wrong about 'digital'

        Mate, I'm not sure what your professional experience is but 'digital' has nothing to do with IT, ICT, Architects or CIO's.

        Further, 'digital' people ARE marketing people in almost every organisation around the world.

        Understanding 'digital' is about understanding people first, technology second. The people part is understanding the changes and disruptions happening to people; needs, attitudes, behaviours, and more. That is a marketing role / function.

        'Digital' does not mean 'social'. Your comment just further demonstrates how removed and out of touch IT/ICT/CIO/IT professionals are with all things 'digital'.

        'Digital' is everything from online advertising, email marketing (now called Marketing Automation), lead nurturing, search engine marketing, Business Intelligence / Measurement / Analytics, social influence marketing, user interface design, information architecture, eCommerce, CRM / Social CRM, inbound marketing (content driven marketing), personas / research, A/B testing & optimisation, digital PR / online reputation management, online events, mobile marketing (smartphone & tablets), digital readiness / training / centres of excellence, cross channel architecture (digital by default) and lot's more.

        Digital Marketing professionals have almost always reported to the CMO since the role was created - nothing new here - and it should remain that way. Most CMO's for the past 12-24 months have had to become digital experts. The biggest challenger facing CMO's is getting the traditional & digital mix right.

        Whether the social CRM use case is internal or external it is a marketing (digital) role not IT. It does not need a 'digital architect' or CDO. That is the role of the existing Digital Marketing lead in an organisation working with internal comms in the same marketing team. Once again, social communication & collaboration in the enterprise or organisation has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with people. These project almost always fail (as do many other IT projects) because they are led almost entirely from a technology point of view rather than a people point of view.

        P.S. Mobility has been important for 3 years already and almost all my peers have included it as a given in marketing campaigns and strategy over that period of time.
  • Given the corporate focus on profit at the expense of all else...

    It isn't altogether surprising that CIOs are moving "up". After all, what has been the focus of CIO efforts these last 10 years but offshoring/outsourcing/reducing the integration of IT into "the core business"?

    That turns a quick "profit", so to speak, in reduced costs - and that is all that "major /activist" shareholders and Wall Street analysts care about. Long term impact upon the corporation's viability and competitiveness is not their concern, so a cost-cutter - a typical CIO - is the logical choice for increased responsibility.
  • Hard to believe

    I find it hard to believe that attracting and retaining an engaged workforce, especially in IT, doesn't rank much higher on the list of business priorities, not just for the CIO but for all in the C suite.
  • What Does "Semantics" Mean?

    It means "meaning".
  • Interesting details from survey

    Interesting to note that migration from legacy is down the list of CIO priorities, to provide efficient service CIO's need to upgrade existing technology to ensure inefficient infrastructure does not blunt Growth . Read a whitepaper on this very topic which talks about integrating and investing in next generation technology "Y2K 12 Integrating next generation technology to transform your business" @
    Aditya Guru